A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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In 1086 16½ ploughteams were recorded in Shipton (fn. 1) and in 1220 there were said to be 15½ plough-lands. (fn. 2) In 1086 the demesne of Shipton Moyne manor was cultivated by 4 servi with 2 ploughs, (fn. 3) and it comprised 2 plough-lands in 1214. (fn. 4) The manor was farmed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. (fn. 5) Of the estates held from the manor by Rumbald in 1086 the demesne on the 10 hides had 4 servi with 3 ploughs and the demesne on the 1 hide was cultivated with 1 plough. (fn. 6) The customary tenants on Isabel Beauboys's estate in 1346 owed cash rents and labour-services, including harrowing, carrying, mowing, haymaking, and reaping. (fn. 7) The demesne of William of Eu's estate had 8 servi with 2 ploughs in 1086; there were also 2 bordars. (fn. 8)
The tenants recorded on Shipton Moyne manor in 1086 were 4 villani and 2 bordars with 4 ploughs. Of Rumbald's estates the 10 hides had 4 villani and 8 bordars with 4 ploughs and the 1 hide 1 villanus and 1 bordar with half a plough. (fn. 9) On the Beauboys estate the customary tenements in 1346 comprised 2 yardlands, 2 half-yardlands, and 1 quarteryardland; another yardland was held for life for cash rent and one autumn bedrip. There were also 5 freeholds which varied considerably in size and heriots were owed from two of them. (fn. 10) In the 14th century tenements were alienated from Estcourt manor for life. (fn. 11) By the early 17th century leaseholds for 99 years determinable by three lives were being granted (fn. 12) but c. 1670 many leases were for from one to three years. (fn. 13) Thirteen tenements were then held from the manor for cash rents and some also owed renders in kind, or heriots in kind or cash. (fn. 14)
Two open fields, a north field and a south field, were mentioned c. 1300. (fn. 15) The north field, which was crossed by the Tetbury road, was called Street field in 1695. (fn. 16) The 'inhook' recorded in 1317 (fn. 17) suggests that some land was more intensively cultivated than the two-field system allowed, and in 1340 two-thirds of the demesne arable on Shipton Moyne manor was under crops. (fn. 18) In the 14th century the parish had a number of meadows. A south meadow mentioned c. 1300 was evidently common as was probably a north meadow recorded in 1372. Church Mead, south of the church, and Dean Mead, running north-westwards from the Foss Way, were held with Estcourt manor in severalty in 1359. (fn. 19) A lot meadow mentioned in 1677 (fn. 20) may have been the meadow recorded by the stream in Wormwell Bottom in 1630. (fn. 21) The common pasture recorded in 1221, when Ralph le Moyne was found to have deprived a tenant of common rights by cultivating it, (fn. 22) was presumably in the open fields. Several moorland pastures mentioned in 1359 (fn. 23) were probably downland. In 1505 ten people were presented in Estcourt manor court for overstocking common land. (fn. 24) Sheep-farming was a prominent feature of the early economy of the parish (fn. 25) and sheep-pastures, called sleights, lay in the northern corner. (fn. 26) Pigs were frequently mentioned in the later Middle Ages as trespassers in the corn fields (fn. 27) and in the 16th century orders for ringing them were often made. (fn. 28)
Exchanges of property made between the two principal estates in the early 17th century (fn. 29) may have involved some inclosure in the open fields, in which closes were recorded in 1671. (fn. 30) In 1724 the Great Sleight, a sheep-pasture in the north, was broken up and part brought under the plough. (fn. 31) At parliamentary inclosure in 1742 c. 800 a. of openfield land remained. Walter Hodges was allotted c. 350 a. subject to several life-tenancies, Thomas Estcourt was similarly awarded c. 160 a., and the rector c. 157 a. Three other proprietors received allotments. (fn. 32)
In the 18th century there were two principal estates. The Estcourt estate in 1758 had six farms (fn. 33) and the Hodges estate in 1789 five. (fn. 34) The fields of the estates were intermixed and some exchanges were made in 1790. (fn. 35) From the end of the 18th century most of the parish belonged to the Estcourt estate. Pastoral farming predominated in 1796 when of the 954 a. in Shipton belonging to the estate pasture accounted for 660 a. and arable for 248 a. (fn. 36) In 1801 only 525 a. of arable, growing mainly wheat, barley, turnips, and oats, with some potatoes, peas, and beans, were recorded in the parish. (fn. 37) Arable farming was important in the south part, notably on Cranmore farm in the 1820s, (fn. 38) but the economy of the parish in the early 19th century rested on mixed farming. In 1834 the Estcourt estate included 1,150 a. of meadow and pasture and 850 a. of arable besides 63 a. of woodland. (fn. 39) Dairy farming was important and sheep and pigs were kept in large numbers. (fn. 40)
Thomas Estcourt (d. 1818) encouraged agricultural innovation. He experimented in arable farming by applying new techniques of dibbling, drilling, and manuring. (fn. 41) He was probably responsible also for the practice mentioned in 1807 of cross-breeding with Wiltshire rams to produce fat sheep (fn. 42) and in 1809 he planned to introduce merino sheep to increase his profit from wool. (fn. 43) In 1811 he drew up an incentive plan to encourage his tenant farmers, (fn. 44) among whom haymaking machinery was in common use in 1812. (fn. 45) One farmer was noted in 1807 for his use of advanced machinery for preparing the ground for seed. (fn. 46) In the mid 19th century T. G. B. Estcourt experimented in crop rotation. (fn. 47) In the 19th century the produce of the home farm was mainly for home consumption but some was sold in Tetbury and Malmesbury markets. The farm was staffed by a small permanent work-force of villagers but at certain times, especially the summer, casual labour was recruited locally. (fn. 48) In the mid 19th century the labourers were given a harvest supper or cash instead, (fn. 49) and at Christmas they were given Christmas fare instead of a feast. (fn. 50) Before 1820 an allotment scheme was introduced by Thomas Estcourt; 26 small holdings (fn. 51) were leased by the year. By 1845 the scheme included 60 holdings (fn. 52) distributed in three fields south-east of the village, (fn. 53) and in 1865 they covered 15 a. (fn. 54) The allotments were still in use in the early 1920s. (fn. 55)
In 1796 the estate had four principal farms of 342 a., 215 a., 185 a., and 163 a. in the parish; (fn. 56) c. 1813 there were five. (fn. 57) The villagers' chief employment was on the farms; in 1831 eight of the nine farmers employed a total of 53 labourers. (fn. 58) In 1830, during the agricultural riots and agitation for higher wages, the Shipton farmers refused an increase, and one reduced the wage to 7s. The labourers, who did not press any demands, unlike their neighbours at Long Newnton on the same estate, were rewarded by the farmers with a payment of 2s. 6d. (fn. 59) The principal farms in the mid 19th century were Ivyhouse, Cranmore, Street, Park, and Clayfield, (fn. 60) the last being part of the Westonbirt estate. (fn. 61) In the late 1840s after the absorption of Hillier's farm and land from Hillcourt into the Estcourt estate, there was a considerable rearrangement involving Street and Pond farms. (fn. 62) The largest farms c. 1895 were Cranmore (411 a.), Ivyhouse (409 a.), Street (229 a.), and Home farm (182 a.). (fn. 63) The Westonbirt estate included in 1927 the smaller farms of Westend (167 a.), Clayfield (138 a.), and Hillcourt (98 a.). (fn. 64) Pastoral farming predominated in 1901 when c. 1,450 a. were devoted to grass and 640 a. to arable. (fn. 65) In 1974 farming was mixed but with the emphasis on dairying. Pigfarming was also important, (fn. 66) and Westend farm was a stud farm.
In 1086 a mill was recorded on Shipton Moyne manor and another on the estate of 10 hides held by Rumbald. (fn. 67) A miller was mentioned in the 1240s (fn. 68) and both mills were presumably operating in 1327 when two men surnamed 'of the mill' lived in Shipton Moyne. Of those Ralph, (fn. 69) surnamed 'of the Wood mill' in 1317, (fn. 70) evidently worked Rumbald's former mill; it was held jointly by the Estcourt and Beauboys families in the 14th century, and was called the Wood mill in 1341. (fn. 71) The name identifies it with the later Shipton Mill on the stream in the north-east part of the parish near Shipton wood. (fn. 72) In 1419 it needed repairs. (fn. 73) By 1609 the site included two mills, (fn. 74) which were leased in the 17th century, (fn. 75) but by 1774 there was only one mill. (fn. 76) A miller was recorded in 1831 (fn. 77) and the wheel of Shipton Mill pumped the water-supply installed in 1869. (fn. 78) The mill was still operating in the early 1920s (fn. 79) but was later abandoned.
The water-mill on Shipton Moyne manor was recorded in the late 15th century. (fn. 80) In the mid 16th century there was a dispute over the tenancy of the mill, (fn. 81) which was leased with the manor in 1586. (fn. 82) The mill, upstream of Shipton Mill on a site later covered by the lake, was conveyed in an exchange to Thomas Estcourt in 1790 (fn. 83) and had evidently gone out of use by 1796 when the Estcourt estate had only Shipton Mill. (fn. 84)
Most villagers were employed in agriculture. In 1831 60 families were supported by agriculture compared with 16 by manufacture or trade. (fn. 85) Some villagers were employed as domestic servants in Estcourt House. (fn. 86) In the late 16th century tiles were quarried in the east part of the parish; (fn. 87) a tiler was listed in 1608 (fn. 88) and a tile-house was recorded in 1630. (fn. 89) A lime-works was mentioned c. 1703. (fn. 90) The brick-kiln recorded in Shipton in 1778 (fn. 91) presumably formed part of the tilery which stood by the Foss Way in the late 19th century (fn. 92) and was still in operation in the early 1920s. (fn. 93)
A smith was recorded at Shipton Moyne in 1221 (fn. 94) and two lived there in 1327. (fn. 95) A smithy was mentioned in 1793 (fn. 96) and a blacksmith in 1831. Six shoemakers then lived in the parish (fn. 97) but only one boot- and shoemaker was listed in the mid 19th century. (fn. 98) In the late 18th century the trade of carpenter was followed by members of the Hopkins family. (fn. 99) In the early 19th century at least four parishioners worked as carpenters and in 1831 there was also a wheelwright, (fn. 100) but only one carpenter was mentioned in the later 19th century. (fn. 101) Masons were recorded in 1729 (fn. 102) and c. 1817. (fn. 103)
In the mid 18th century a tallow-chandler lived in the parish. (fn. 104) Residents included a coal-dealer in 1879 (fn. 105) and a haulier in 1902. (fn. 106) In 1838 the village had a shop north of Street Farm. (fn. 107) In the 19th century a butcher lived in the parish (fn. 108) and a bake-house was mentioned in 1854. (fn. 109) The parish had a tailor in 1689, (fn. 110) a dressmaker in 1894, (fn. 111) and a hairdresser in 1902. (fn. 112) A leech was recorded in the mid 13th century. (fn. 113) Thomas Oldham (d. 1688) was a surgeon (fn. 114) as was William Davis (fl. 1699). (fn. 115)
In the Middle Ages the parish contained two tithings, Shipton Moyne and Shipton Dovel. In 1223 the lord of Shipton Moyne manor, Ralph le Moyne, claimed the liberties of gallows and tumbril but his claim was disputed by the abbot of Cirencester, lord of the hundred. (fn. 116) About 1235, in an agreement relating to the liberties of the manor, the right of the abbot to try thieves was acknowledged, but Ralph was to have the amercements from view of frankpledge for a payment of 40d. at the two views, which were to be held each year in his manor court by the abbot's bailiffs. (fn. 117) Although leet jurisdiction was claimed by the manor in 1562 (fn. 118) there is no evidence that it was then exercised. Gilbert of Shipton's court was mentioned in 1268. (fn. 119) The view for Shipton Dovel was held in the hundred court. (fn. 120)
Two court rolls for Shipton Moyne manor survive for 1317. For the Beauboys estate and later for Estcourt manor there are rolls for the period 1342-1478 (fn. 121) and rolls and other court papers for 1505-18, 1536-46, 1561, 1590, (fn. 122) 1601, and 1603. (fn. 123) The courts dealt with the usual estate matters but the dominant authority in the parish in agrarian matters was probably exercised by the Shipton Moyne manor court; in 1590 its orders for stinting sheep were enforced by the Estcourt manor court. (fn. 124)
The parish usually had two churchwardens from the late 15th century (fn. 125) but in the mid 17th there was only one. (fn. 126) Their accounts survive from 1771. (fn. 127) There was at least one surveyor of the highways in 1810. (fn. 128) Records of the overseers of the poor survive for the period 1752-1826, and vestry minutes for 1835-65. (fn. 129) In 1756 £59 was spent on relief and 6 people were helped regularly. (fn. 130) Poverty was widespread in the late 18th century and in 1788 136 people from 21 families, most of which had a total weekly income of less than 15s., were classified as poor. (fn. 131) In 1770 only 6 out of 30 poor families received regular relief but by the end of the century the number had risen to c. 12. (fn. 132) From 1795, when two spinning-wheels were bought, until c. 1804 women and children were employed in spinning wool or flax, the latter being woven into sheeting. They worked in a house of industry in 1800 when 6 more spinning-wheels were bought and the parish provided carding instruments (fn. 133) and raw materials. (fn. 134) The house of industry was presumably that supported by Jane Estcourt (d. 1829), (fn. 135) for the parish had no workhouse in 1803. (fn. 136) In 1810 tools for road maintenance were bought by the parish. (fn. 137) From c. 1782 a doctor was retained (fn. 138) and in 1810 many parishioners were vaccinated, possibly at the prompting of Jane Estcourt. (fn. 139) A salaried overseer was employed from 1810. (fn. 140) A church house, apparently given by one of the Lords Stourton, was being used as a poorhouse by 1683. (fn. 141) It stood east of the village street and was sold by the guardians of the Tetbury union to T. G. B. Estcourt in 1838. (fn. 142)
The cost of poor-relief increased in the late 18th century to £127 by 1795. In 1796 £314 was spent (fn. 143) but in the early 19th century expenditure was kept down. In 1803 and 1815 the cost was c. £263 although the number receiving permanent relief rose from 15 to 32. (fn. 144) Expenditure averaged £234 in the late 1820s (fn. 145) and fell from £260 in 1831 to £144 in 1834. (fn. 146) In 1836 Shipton Moyne became part of the Tetbury poor-law union (fn. 147) and it remained in Tetbury rural district in 1974.
About 1795, following a proclamation restricting the use of wheat, the vestry agreed to provide a substitute for wheat bread. (fn. 148) The undertaking was probably one of several schemes devised by Thomas Estcourt, the chief landowner, to prevent any increase in the poor-rate; another was perhaps the distribution of broth and bread to the poor after Christmas 1788. (fn. 149) In 1800 and 1801 Estcourt excused some tenants their rents because of the high price of provisions. (fn. 150) There is no evidence that his plan to encourage individual parishioners to help the poor was implemented (fn. 151) but his scheme for allotments for his tenants was under way in 1820; (fn. 152) an allotment was forfeit if the tenant became chargeable to the parish. (fn. 153)